The Devil Tiger design represented several milestones of progress in his design career.

It was his first smart metal mech.

It was his first true bestial mech.

It was his first mech which utilized a complete spiritual entity as its design spirit.

It was his first mech where he used an involuntary design spirit.

It was his first mech that utilized a much more unrestrained neural interface.

If his Devil Tiger only encompassed one of those firsts, then the mech did not merit such weight.

Yet because his design pioneered so many aspects in a single mech frame, it gained greater significance in his eyes.

Though he was proud of his Aurora Titan and Transcendent Messenger designs, he considered the Devil Tiger to be his first true inaugural work since becoming a Journeyman.

His design seed matured enough that it provided a great amount of assistance in his latest design project.
It not only accelerated his design work, but also led him to develop many small but ingenious innovations.

In addition, conducting exchanges with numerous Journeyman polished his design work even further.
Even if the lessons he learned did not pertain directly to his specialty or his interests, he still found it useful to acquire a perspective on how his Devil Tiger stood among the immense spectrum of mech designs.

From a commercial standpoint, the value of the Devil Tiger looked dubious.
Though it performed better than third-class mechs, it did not match up to the standards of a second-class mech.
Yet its cost firmly pushed it up to the latter anyway due to its expensive ASMAS.

A product like this was a huge commercial failure.

In truth, the businessman within Ves found the Devil Tiger to be highly repellent.

Its price-performance ratio was abysmal and he wasn ’t even sure if any demand for this type of mech even existed.

Its whole mech concept went against the established grain on the rare terrestrial battlefields of the Nyxian Gap.

Yet for all of these impracticalities, the artist and craftsman side of Ves viewed his Devil Tiger design in a completely different light!

Aside from the innovations he incorporated as experiments, the Devil Tiger also represented a sharp divergence from established convention.

It was the first ’living ’ mech designed by Ves that extensively embraced the path of life.

Its high autonomy, its self-dependence and its ability to help or hinder its mech pilot to a much more extensive degree led to great implications.

Ves believed it to be the first living mech to shift the power balance between mech and mech pilots!

Mechs should always be under the control of their mech pilots.
This was one of the fundamental principles that defined mechs for hundreds of years.

The mech community did not have a good opinion of mechs aided by AIs and heavy automation.
Mech pilots ought to express their genuine skill and spontaneity rather than leave most of the decision-making to rigid, static processors.

Yet the Devil Tiger might be the first mech that broke this convention but suffer none of the usual downsides.

Empowering his Devil Tiger with Zeigra ’s spirituality did not mean the mech pilot could sit back and let the deceased Crown Cat do all of the work.

The mech pilot still had to pitch in.
Only through combining the strengths of the mech and mech pilots in a symbiotic relationship would they both be able to achieve an astounding level of performance!

”My Devil Tiger will surely live up to its promises! ”

One of the most central aspects about his Devil Tiger was that while it may not be too impressive right now, it possessed the greatest potential of growth than any other mech he designed.

In both a spiritual and physical aspect, the Devil Tiger was still in its infancy.
As long as the mech was not fully destroyed, it could always bounce back greater and stronger than before!

Theoretically, there was no upper boundary to its growth! As long as Zeigra ’s spirituality kept growing and the mech kept digesting more powerful exotics, it might one day be capable of rivalling first-class mechs!

This was not an empty boast.
Back when he occupied Axelar Streon ’s mind during one of his Mastery experiences, he learned that first-class mechs did not differ all that much from third-class mechs.

Sure, their tech and amazing materials granted them amazing strength, but underneath the hood they all shared common roots to the most humblest mechs.

Since the Devil Tiger shared the same roots as well, theoretically the mech might be capable of surpassing the Ouroboros, the first-class hero mech that he designed for Axelar!

”It requires both time and investment, but..
I believe in the Devil Tiger.
Its urge to survive and thrive will see it through. ”

Imparting it with Zeigra ’s spirituality may not have been his original intention, but Ves believed it to be a real boon for his Devil Tiger.
Their qualities and inclinations matched too well with each other.

”It ’s like the Devil Tiger is tailor-made to accommodate the spirituality of a metal-eating Crown Cat from the start! ”

The fabrication of the mech proceeded in a different fashion than before.

The production of substitute ASMAS that constituted the bulk of the frame of his mech required little intervention.
The only problem was that the process happened a bit slowly.

However, this left Ves with much less fabrication work than normal.
He took great advantage of his reduced workload by spending much more attention on the fabrication of conventional components.

Nothing contained any notable flaws.
Ves demanded the utmost from each and every part, even if his design could tolerate a lot more imperfections.

He only had one shot at making the Devil Tiger.
There would never be a second copy of its design.

”My Devil Tiger has to start off on the best footing possible! ”

The immense significance of the Devil Tiger to his artistic and philosophical progression drove Ves to enter in a peculiar state of mind.

Rather than burning hot with passion or being driven by momentum, Ves entered an altered state where his focus had become razor sharp.

His normally-jumbled and chaotic mind grew incredibly quiet.
His focus reached a degree where it became a sharp that cut through all of the distractions conjured up by his overactive imagination.

The absolute focus helped him enormously in maintaining an extreme but incredibly consistent quality level during his work.
He became extremely meticulous but not too inefficient.
It was as if he always came up with the right solutions at the right time.

No problem confounded him! Even if he worked with old, worn production equipment, he effortlessly compensated for their quirks and idiosyncrasies!

Once he finished fabricating and inspecting all of the parts, he returned to the site where he let the ASMAS work on its own.

Ves found it to be a bit discordant for him to be so detached from the fabrication of the bulk of the mech.
While the pure ASMAS did its work wonderfully, he found it a bit jarring because of its heartless and overly-inhuman replication process.

Even though Ves extensively programmed the pure ASMAS during the design process, he did not possess a strong sense of ownership towards both types of ASMAS.

”It lacks..
a human touch. ”

He always emphasized the importance of involving humans in the creation of mechs.
This was especially so for custom mechs!

While the pure ASMAS went on its merry way to churn out more and more substitute ASMAS, Ves decided he had to do something to correct its inadequacies.

He called up his design in his mind and tried to impress it on the ASMAS.

The substitute ASMAS took it on surprisingly well.
The pure ASMAS less so because Ves hadn ’t originally produced it himself, but in time it gained a spiritual quality that conformed to the design.

He still sensed a lingering discrepancy, though.

Ves spontaneously invested a small portion of his spiritual energy into the ASMAS.
This decision quickly caused the ASMAS to take on a more personal feel, as if Ves had crafted each and every single nanomachine by hand!

”That ’s better! ” He smiled.

A sudden realization struck him immediately after he did this.
He even paused his state of absolute focus over this amazing development!

He invented another new spiritual technique!

This new technique which he came up with to address a glaring deficiency addressed a problem that long hindered Ves.

The fabrication of his gold label mechs consumed too much time.
While its value was undeniable, it did not make sense to remain stuck in the Mech Nursery for years on end just so that he could churn out a gold label mech every three days.

He ’d deprive himself of too much time that he could spend on more productive activities such as designing a new mech or studying new knowledge!

Yet the new technique served as a possible means to liberate himself from this time-consuming activity.

”If I ’m right..
I can essentially upgrade a silver label mech into a gold label mech! ”

He decided to call it spiritual imprinting.
This was because he essentially imprinted a mech with his spiritual energy in a way that made it as if he crafted it by hand!

The only downside of this technique was that the imprinting required him to invest his spiritual energy.
Perhaps he might not care too much if he did it once, but if he continually performed this technique several times a day, then he would quickly be sapping his strength!

His dreams of converting all of his silver label mechs into gold label mechs were dashed.

Everything had a price.
The only way he could make it more bearable was to grow his Spirituality.
If he became ten times or a hundred times more formidable, then the amount of mechs he could spiritually imprint became vastly more!

In fact, considering its limitations, Ves largely reserved the technique to the mechs of the Avatars of Myth.
Only a portion of his personal force piloted LMC mechs, and of those mechs only a fraction actually consisted of gold label mechs.

As Ves wanted to turn his Avatars into a glorious example of a mech force that consisted fully of LMC mechs, they deserved as many gold label mechs as possible!

”Previously, I ’ve always been limited by my lack of time, but now that I can substitute that with spiritual energy, it ’s much easier! ”

Time was a finite resource, while his spiritual energy always regenerated over time.

The stronger he grew, the more his spiritual energy regeneration sped up.
Since he was still a Journeyman, he had plenty of room to grow in this aspect!

He did not linger about the implications of his new technique for long.
He highly prized the strange state of absolute focus he had previously immersed himself in.
The longer he paused his work, the more it started to fade from his mind!

”I can ’t afford to lose my groove! ”

Ves proceeded to the assembly phase.
He gradually reentered his inspired focused state as he obsessively pieced his mech together.

Portions of the internal frame along with its critical parts were put into place.
Hints of the Devil Tiger ’s feline form already emerged.
Due to the scarcity of fixed parts, Ves finished his work quickly.

He found himself forced to wait until the pure ASMAS finished replicating all of the substitute ASMAS necessary to constitute a complete mech frame.

He sat patiently on a stool as he watched the amorphous, mercury-like pools of ASMAS continually dwindle the stock of materials.

Once the ASMAS completely consumed the available stock, he directed it to engulf the partially-assembled mech frame that Ves had prepared.

It was time to put some meat on the bones of his Devil Tiger.

With rapt attention, he watched as the pure ASMAS and substitute ASMAS crawled over the workshop floor.
They neared the assembly system where the incomplete Devil Tiger awaited the arrival of its other half.

The moment of completion was at hand!

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